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The Importance of “Super Fans”

February 9, 2010

What is a “super fan?”

A super fan is like your disciple. They spread the good news about you to anyone and everyone. They are the ones that come to all your concerts in their area, will sometimes drive far for one, and they are the ones hanging out to meet you after your show. They are first in line to buy your music, and they’ll buy a lot of your other merch too. A majority of them know each other and connect at shows and online. And chances are, you probably know most of them by name, especially if you’re an indie artist.

So why are they so important? There was an article that came out in 2008 called 1,000 True Fans. This article talks about why these super fans are so crucial to your career. They argue if you have 1,000 true fans who each spend $100 on you a year, that will give you $100,000 a year, which is enough for an artist to live on comfortably. These “True Fans” aren’t the casual fans you meet at shows, these are people I described above. They go out and spread the word about your music and create other fans. They are your best ally, and one of your greatest marketing tools.

Ok… you get it. You need fans, and you need super fans, but how do you create them? The key word is relationship. People like to feel appreciated, and they like their opinions and support matter. They want to be your friend and get to know you so get to know them: their names, their backgrounds, their likes and dislikes… focus on being their friend. When they have a connection with you, it will make them love your music even more, and they won’t quickly jump ship when the next act comes along.

Think of your very first concert (or the very first concert you were excited about). I bet you can remember it pretty vividly… the sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions. Then think about how excited you were about the show, and how happy it would have made you to meet the artist, get an autograph, and take a picture with them. Then think about how chances are, there is someone out there who thinks the same thing about you. It’s kind of humbling, isn’t it?

The best way to start creating super fans is going that extra mile to know them. Here are a few pointers to start creating your own super fans.

  1. Connect. When you talk to a fan that seems really excited to talk to you, tell them to find you online at Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, or your website. Tell them to keep in touch.
  2. Communicate. If someone writes to you either via email or a social network… RESPOND. The worst thing you could do is tell someone to contact you and then ignore it. As a rule of thumb, if they take the time write you, they want a response. Even if it’s a simple comment like “I really like your music.” It takes a few seconds to just write back “Thank you! What’s your favorite song?” Knowing that you’ve actually read and processed their emails/comments goes a long way.
  3. Keep your fans up to date. Update your twitters and statuses regularly. Let them know what’s going on with you and your music.
  4. Make it a little personal. When I say you should be updating, I’m not just talking about updates involving your music, but also put a little bit of your heart into it. Is there a social issue that you’re passionate about? Do you care about missions? What are you learning at church? Did someone say something that got you thinking? Let your fans know you a little more personally. Here are three questions you can ask yourself to help think of tweets:
    • What are you doing? (what are you working on? what’s going on in your career or life?)
    • Who are you? (family, upbringing, past)
    • What do I stand for? (social issues, passions)

I’ll step out of my label role for a minute and use myself an example. I would call myself a super fan of the band Jimmy Eat World. They’ve been my favorite band for about 10 years now. I buy all of their albums the first day they release, I own all of their EPs, I have a shirt or two, bought a window sticker for my car, and I drove 8 hours with 5 of my friends to see the closest show in their special Clarity x10 Tour last year. I follow them on Twitter, retweet news about albums, and I subscribe to their news list. I may have never met them (or even tried), but I still consider myself a die-hard Jimmy fan. And if they tried to create a relationship with me, I would still be really excited.

Fan/Artist relationships are some of the most crucial that you can have when you’re trying to build up your career. If you know how to motivate your listeners, you will create die-hard super fans who will sell your brand to all of their friends.

Disclaimer: There is a difference between super fans and stalkers. If the person is looking up your address or phone number, showing up random places you go, and telling you God told them you were going to get married, you probably want to stay away from those people.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2010 3:45 PM

    I am a super fan and proud of it. We like bringing treats for everyone. It’s fun watching their faces.

    Example: A bunch of us downhomies met up again this past weekend in Marion, IL for downhere and we brought them a bus warming gift of fruit, Valentines, cookies and cheese curds. They loved it. Jason was like, “you guys always come bearing gifts.” So I told him it’s the least we could do since you are on the road, away from your families, and making sacrifices; you are paying it forward, so we want to pay it back.

    It’s great being part of something to help further the Kingdom. Centricity is great at connecting with everyone and that is way I will do whatever it takes to spread the word.

    Rock it out, peeps. Rock it out!

  2. February 9, 2010 4:13 PM

    i’m also a downhomie, this past July (’09) several of us all met up in Nashville for the 1st Fan gathering, which was AWSOME!! i don’t know of any other band who does that.

  3. Kaitlyn permalink
    February 9, 2010 5:09 PM

    This is almost like a ‘Super Fans Anonymous’ meeting. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am also a super fan of Jason Gray and downhere. Surprise, surprise…

    I totally had a huge smile on my face while I was reading this whole blog. My mind kept going back to when I put together a Jason Gray show at church back in November. He played at my church, and we hosted him at my house. How often do you get to have your favorite musician stay at your house? Uh..never! It was a great time, and my favorite part of it was spending it outside of a concert environment. We both got to get to know each other more, and it was a really great bonding experience. I have felt unworthy of everything that Jason has done over the past couple of years, getting me into shows, giving me his music, and his kindness. Like Mindy said, it was just my way of paying it back, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to.

    Great post, Rebekah!

  4. Rebekah Markowitz permalink*
    February 9, 2010 5:26 PM

    Thanks guys! I had you in mind while writing this. Your support of us and our artists is invaluable. Can’t thank you enough!!

  5. February 9, 2010 10:44 PM

    Thanks for the article! Some very helpful pointers! I have heard of many bands having “street teams” which is a type of club for the super fans.

  6. February 9, 2010 10:54 PM

    I know I should be a good little fan and echo what the others had to say, but…….

    May I argue that superfans aren’t necessarily created- but cultivated? Every artist has their superfans… those dedicated fans that follow them and are willing to serve (please do not confuse us with ‘groupies!’) The difference between most artists and Centricity’s artists is the cultivation process. Instead of limiting our contact with artists, leaving interns to reply to our emails, and taking a hands-off approach towards the fanbase, you all have been kind enough to engage us. You allow us to serve… encourage us to… and we recipricate because of the developing relationship. You brought up some very good points and a lot of good advice! Just keep in mind that it’s not all your doing… it takes a certain personality to become a true superfan ๐Ÿ™‚

    For me… it’s all about the ministry. I support Centricity and it’s artists because I know your (collective) focus is on Christ. You all are humble… willing to accept feedback and to communicate with fans. You all are talented and knowledgeable about your ‘craft’- and you know it… yet you choose to educate the rest of us, instead of acting pompous about it. In many ways, you all (in the music field) are the master communicators… the ones with the power to influence people for (or against) Christ. If we superfans can encourage you to stay focused on the goals ahead, you bet we’re going to be out there telling others about what you’re doing-

    And cultivating a few new superfans while we’re at it!

  7. Shawn permalink
    February 10, 2010 1:08 AM

    Great article, Rebekah ๐Ÿ™‚

    I support Centricity & your artists because you all are about focusing on Jesus & not being or making rock stars. I also love how accessible the staff & artists as well. I don’t know any other labels or bands that are like you. If we didn’t support you the rocks and walls would cry out doing it.

    I’ve been a friend/fan/following downhere since the beginning of the band back in Briercrest. God has used them in my life in mighty ways & through them Centricity @ the rest of the artists have as well.

    This past summer I flew down to Nashville for the downhomie palooza all the way from North Central Canada. Meeting all the downhomies & then hanging out @ Centricity itself during it was awesome & like a taste of heaven. No other band & label has ever done something like that.

    So yeah, keep doing what your doing ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. josh lauritch permalink
    February 11, 2010 1:54 PM

    great article rebekah! wise counsel for any artist. “telling you God told them you were going to get married” oh i’ve got some stories about this one…yikes!

  9. Rebekah Markowitz permalink*
    February 12, 2010 10:41 AM

    Thanks for the amazing comments! It’s quite humbling to see how we’ve impacted your lives. It encourages us to keep going strong and do what we do!

    Gina – You have to create fans before you can begin to cultivate the ones you have. My next blog will be more about that. Stay tuned!

  10. Olivia permalink
    March 9, 2010 11:46 AM

    As a downhomie, I try to do all I can to support Downhere. But, as well as a downhomie, I am a 15 year old girl. So I can’t just go to a concert.. I have ask first. And being a downhomie for a more than a year, I still haven’t been to one of their concerts.. Which kind of upsets me.. But its gonna happen somehow. ๐Ÿ™‚ they are the awesomest band in the entire universe!! That’s all. Olivia out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Rebekah Markowitz permalink*
    March 24, 2010 10:22 AM

    We really hope you can make it out to one soon, Olivia!!


  1. Going Above and Beyond for Your Fans « Centricity Music's Blog

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